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  • Writer's pictureEllen Krohne

Back to Normal?

This week the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people didn’t need to wear masks inside or outside. A sign that we are heading back to normal. The science tells us that the vaccines are highly protective, according to a recently released study on the CDC website. At 94% effectiveness rate, they protect more than anticipated.

Of course, there are still places, that we will want and need to wear masks, like healthcare facilities, at businesses that mandate them and on public transportation. And many of us may choose to wear masks for the safety of those not yet vaccinated.

But, all that aside, this, to me, signals another step toward “back to normal.” Or perhaps we should contemplate, instead, a “new normal.”

Covid has changed the world and I don’t think we can or should just go back to what was before. We have learned so much as we adapted to the pandemic that perhaps can be helpful as we go forward. An interesting article from AARP magazine lists 15 ways the world has changed, enjoy it here at this link:

Here are just a few that are most important to me, your top five list is probably different:

1. Wash your hands – and all surfaces. Cleanliness and avoiding other’s germs through masks and social distancing just makes sense.

2. Virtual work can work. Many businesses will be changed forever by workers at home instead of in an office and reap savings from less office space, travel and layers of management. Workers that can adapt to this new model will have flexibility they could only have imagined.

3. Vaccines CAN be developed quickly and effectively when the scientific community works together. I am excited to imagine this being applied to other diseases.

4. We realized all that technology can do for us (especially us over 50 folks) - from Zoom calls with friends, ordering groceries and food online, mobile banking, telemedicine, Facebook church and funerals, etc.

5. Family and friends that love us matter most of all. We learned who we can count on and how much they mean to us.

Hand in hand with valuing our family we learned that loneliness and isolation can affect our health as much as what we eat and how much exercise we get (although this isn’t news, it’s just more appreciated now.)

At Heartlinks Grief Center, our counselors have been busier than ever, striving to provide services during the pandemic. A virtual tele-model was quickly put into place at the start of the pandemic that enabled continued service to existing clients and to reach many more individuals needing help with grief.

As the country continues to morph during this very changeable time, each semblance of “normal,” like less mask wearing, is to be celebrated. And perhaps to allow us to challenge whether we should accept going back to normal, or continue with the different, maybe better, practices we’ve learned during the last 15 months. Heartlinks is discussing just that – which services to continue in a virtual model and which to move back to face to face, or somewhere in between.

My challenge to you in the weeks ahead, dear reader, is to examine the best of the things you’ve adapted to during the pandemic, and think about not going back to normal.

Heartlinks Grief Center provides grief support to all ages, regardless of ability to pay. If you are grieving or know someone who could use assistance on their grief journey, please contact Heartlinks Grief Center at 618-277-1800 or email

Proceeds from the sale of my books are donated to help support Heartlinks Grief Center, a program of Family Hospice of Belleville, IL.

Be blessed,


Ellen Krohne

Heartlinks Grief Center volunteer and Family Hospice board member

“We Grow Stronger Together”

We Lost Her, available at, Heartbroken, available on, The Secret of a Mommy’s Love available at The Secret of a Mommy's Love.

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